Kick returner and sometimes receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has played 16 offensive snaps in three games. He’s been on the field for four pass plays, according to Pro Football Focus, and has caught one pass for one yard.

That could change Sunday in Denver with receivers Charles Johnson (rib) declared out and Jarius Wright (hand) questionable.

Defensive end Justin Trattou (foot), safety Andrew Sendejo (knee) and cornerback Jabari Price (shoulder) are also out for Sunday’s game.

Talking about Patterson, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, “He has an opportunity [this week], yeah.”

Is he ready for this opportunity? After all, Patterson’s career offensively has been in a consistent free fall since he was benched in favor of Johnson during the season last year.

“I think he’s been doing a good job all along,” Zimmer said. “He just has to go out there and do it. There may be some opportunities for his this week. We’ll see.”

In the locker room, Patterson had this to say: “I don’t know how much more I need to prove.”

He also went on to say:

“It’s always tough for a player sitting on the sideline. You always want to be out there, but when your time called, you just got to be ready. When my number is called, I’ll be more than ready to get out there and just help my team win.

“You never know when your time is coming, just be ready, I’m always that guy.

“I don’t know how much more I need to prove.  When my time comes, I just got to be ready, don’t slip up and do anything stupid.”

In addition to the four players out for Sunday, the Vikings also listed linebacker Audie Cole (ankle) and Wright as questionable, and cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who left last Sunday’s game against the Chargers with a concussion, as probable.

Some other highlights from Zimmer’s press conference earlier today …

— On whether he’ll bring the team out earlier Sunday to get used to the higher elevation: “No. Nope. We don’t even know if there’s altitude out there. It’s 7,200 feet is where you get affected. They’re at 5,200.”

— On whether he has looked into the science of high elevations: “We have.”

— On whether he’s seen growth in the development of second-year safety Antone Exum, who might see more playing time on Sunday: “It’s still an ongoing process. The communication, the recognition. It’s really that. It’s not the physical things.”

— On how the week of preparation was affected by the Broncos signing left tackle Tyler Polumbus this week because Ty Sambrailo (shoulder) is out: “It adds a little bit. But they kind of do what they do. The protection is not going to change much with him. You get a lot more what-ifs. What if they do this? What if they do whatever? We went and got film on [Polumbus]. It’s partly scheme. Do they protect him this way or that way? It’s just what coaches do. The what-ifs. We always what-if everything anyway.”

—   On whether running back Matt Asiata might get more snaps because of how well he’s doing in pass protection: “Every situation and game is different. Adrian [Peterson] is our guy, so we’re going to continue to keep riding him.”

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